Tuesday, May 22, 2012

30 degree drop...

The MNMBS (Minnesota Mountain Bike Series) kicked off Sunday with the Freewheel Frolic at Afton Alps.  Afton is physically the hardest race in the series now that we don't race at Spirit Mountain any more.  The 55 degrees (30 degree drop from the day before!) and drizzle made it even harder, especially for me.  It is no secret that I don't like cold weather racing because my legs just don't have the snap they do once it hits about 70.

The race started fast w/ a hard charging Doug Swanson taking the lead out.  Doug is flying this year, and LOVES cool weather racing (crazy???).  I was fine w/ him leading because my legs were cold and tight.  Doug proceeded to put a 20-30 second gap on me the first lap.  I had to let him go because while my cardio was under control, my legs continued to stay tight.  Finally things started loosening and warming up a little in the second lap.  By that point, I couldn't see anyone chasing behind us.  I caught Doug at the start of the 3rd lap and put a small charge in to gain a quick gap.  Then, I pushed solo through another round of drizzle in the last laps and pulled off the win by a couple minutes.  I have to admit that much of the race was a mental battle with me asking myself why I wasn't home laying on the couch watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, but how rewarding would that have been?

It was great to see our Freewheel team take 3 of the top 4 spots, and even better that the top 4 spots were all Daddies=)  For all you single racers or racers w/out kids, if you think fitting in riding/training/racing is tough now, just wait!

I want to thank Freewheel and all the volunteers for their work on pulling this even off.  It was first class, per the MNMBS norm, even given less than ideal conditions.

Pictures are from Jake at Freewheel.  Thanks Jake.  Also, thanks to Chris "I can out wheelie you" Ames for the handups.

Final equipment note/hint on the race:  7 of the first 8 tires across the line were Bontrager XR1, same as 29-1 (Jesse's front tire being the exception).  Trust me that we all have access to different brands of tires...

Next up?  Maplelag maybe...it is between that and a family visit down to Madison.  Either way, I won't make Buck this week because Tegan is graduating from Pre-School.   Because I never graduated from pre-school, this is an important accomplishment for our family.  While Tegan and I proposed (after much plotting) forgoing the the graduation and attending Buck Hill instead, we were overruled by the Queen Bee (or Queen J)  ;)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Racing Continues

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So I did a couple more races this week.Buck Hill Thursday Night Worlds kicked off with 137 advanced mens starters.  That is as larger or larger than the comp and expert class combined for MNMBS and WORS races....awesome.  I kept the start at a manageable pace and continued to turn the screws for 50 min taking the win.  Pic at the left is from Jeff Gude of the race start.

Today I did the Elk River Spring Fling.  If you don't attend Richzilla's races up there, you are missing out on the essence of mountain bike racing ($10 entry fee that goes to the trails=).  I was a bit concerned w/ a heavy hitting field including my new teammate Doug Swanson and perrenial fast guys like Luke Nelson and Josh Tesch.  Doug led it out strong and let me by mid lap.  I was not under pressure and felt good even when I went aerobic once I got out front.  I wheeled home alone and got 2 loaves of bread for my prize...what better prize could one ask for - case and point: essence of mountain biking.

Ok, so more importantly and interestingly are some equipment things.  With Trek and the Freewheel Elite Team as Co-sponsors, I have the option to run pretty much anything I want outside of being lucky enough to be on a Trek bike again.  Some of the things below are sponsored  items, some are not.
Tires: Even with multiple options, the decision was easy to stick w/ Bontrager tires.  Today I ran the NEW XR1 (same as 29-1) up front and XR0 in the back because the corners were sandy and a few were slippery.  At Buck I ran double XR0s. The XR1 is a nice compliment and option to the XR0. It is just about as fast rolling, a little heavier, but better in the loose over hard pack stuff.  The XR0 is still the king of race tires, no question.  If you don't believe me, try them.  Bontrager guarantees there performance.
Bike: Top Fuel...this continues to be the best bike I have ridden.  Don't try it unless you want to buy one, because you will love it too much.  Trek Demo's are next weekend
Fork: The Top Fuel comes w/ a Fox fork but I have always preferred the dual air and platform (I DON'T do lockouts) of the Rock Shox SIDs.  So thanks to Rockshox, I swapped out the Fox for a SID. The new SID is stiff and 1/3 lb lighter.... so far, I love it.  I may try the Monarch rear shock...time will tell, but I am very picky about suspension.
Wheels:  EC90 XC again.  If you have extra money or are looking for an upgrade that will matter, these are it.  You will immediately feel the difference and realize the benefit.  THe 15QR this year has made an awesome wheelset even more ridiculously better.
Food:  GU.  Roctane.  Plus, the new Roctane drink has 240 calories per bottle!  This is great if you do endurance racing and hate battling to get that magic 350 kcal per hour down.  Also Stinger Waffles - when nothing else sounds good, these do.  The are my favorite bike food, but they are NOT good in short XC events.
Helmet: Bell Volt. They fit me well and never give me a head ache.
Pedals: Crank Brothers.  Kevin (Freewheel owner) and Tyson will attest to the fact that these are the best pedals around.
Bike shop: Freewheel.  They know their stuff.  I am an engineer, I know and understand the technical side of mtbking, as mentioned I am very picky (too picky if you ask Tyson -he puts up with me well as does Kevin), but they keep my on my toes and will get you rolling as FAST as your legs will let you.

More to come later on equipment.  If you are looking for an early season upgrade to enhance your results, look at wheels and tires. If you see me at a race and have questions on anything equipment wise, feel free to ask.

Next up, Mother's Day and gardening (Jen's choice!).

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

This is my trophy from winning the Sandwich 50.  My little sweetie Casey was quite pleased.

The exclusive race report is on skinnyski: http://skinnyski.com/

Result, pics, and partially truthful recollections of the race from Charly and Kuske can be found at the race blog: http://sandwich50.blogspot.com/

I am in Longmont, CO now staring longingly out the window at the mountains while we discuss the finer points of disc drive design and manufacturing.  While this is difficult, I probably need the rest.
Next up will be some Buck Hill suffering and maybe an appearance at Elk River….